Water Governance Research

WSI Associates and students have actively engaged in research activities that address the challenges of water governance–the laws, institutions, actors, and organizations involved in the allocation, management, protection, and utilization of surface and groundwater resources– in the 21st Century.  Water governance is dynamic, responding to external pressures coming from economic restructuring to environmental change.

Our work addresses two major approaches to water governance.  The first seeks to identify efficient, equitable and effective or “good” water governance arrangements and processes. The second approach understands that governing water is highly contested and political. From this second perspective, research on water governance investigates how impacts regimes, policies, and processes change water access and water security of different players unevenly.

WSI research in this area examines water policy, water law and water politics in the provision, protection, and allocation of water resources at multiple scales –from local, small water systems and watersheds to global challenges of water provision for people and ecosystems across regions.  Current scholarly projects address transboundary water security, public utility administration and water provision in the US, and urban water and sanitation governance in the Global South.